Additional Titles







Postal Service to Create Trackable 'Smart Stamp?


Big Brother Comes To Wal-Mart

Welcome to the Gulag

Seat Belts, Cigaretts and Stout

S.A.R.S. Simply Another Ridiculous Scam

Why N.C. National Guardsman Daniel Moody Didn't Get His mail

Big-Time Spooky

So Much Sewage

Starrett Articles:






By Mary Starrett

August 13, 2003

Summer's the absolutely WORST time to stop shaving your legs, but the stubble's staying. In short- I'm boycotting Gillette.

Gillette was recently busted by a consumer privacy group for not only rigging their products with radio frequency i.d. (spy) chips but for developing "smart shelves" that snap pictures of customers as they pick up products.

As I'm fond of saying-you can't make this stuff up.

Were it not for the tireless dogging of this nonsense by one consumer watchdog group, you and I would never know that we might actually be PHOTOGRAPHED as we pulled a package of Mach 3 Turbo razors from the store shelf.

When I started writing about this slow incursion into a brave, new consumer world("Big Brother Comes To Wal-Mart" 6/11/03, and "How Wal-Mart And Gillette Got Themselves Into A Public Relations Nightmare" 7/4/03) I heard from a large number of readers who told Gillette and their partner in this scheme(Wal-Mart) that they weren't amused.

Now the gloves are off and privacy-loving consumers have another weapon in their arsenal against the assault on their privacy.

The global boycott of Gillette products officially began Monday morning.

With the launching of the website the mega corp delivering the unkindest cut of all has been put on notice that Americans can only be pushed so far. Their pals in other big corporations like Proctor and Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi etc will be watching to see just how much damage the boycott does.

At issue here are two things: First off, do we really want trackable radio frequency identification chips following us home? Secondly, should we have to wonder whether our photo's being snapped without our knowledge when we pick a product up off a shelf?

The answer should be a high-decibel "NO!"

Fighting retail surveillance since 1999, consumer privacy group C.A.S.P.I.A.N. (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion And Numbering) sent letters to Gillette asking for information on the RFID tags on their products as well as the photograph-taking "smart shelves". The group's founder, Katherine Albrecht sat by her mailbox, day after day waiting for some correspondence from the Big Brother of all big corporations saying they denounced their plans and promised to stop immediately; or at least would agree to TELL shoppers when they were being tracked and photographed. Sadly, Gillette's VP Dick Cantwell didn't respond . Albrecht got no answers to her pointed questions about these disturbing practices.

She said " Since Gillette failed to renounce the photographing and tracking of innocent shoppers, we can only conclude �they plan to continue down this�path� we want to send a clear message to Gillette and other companies that consumers will not tolerate being spied on". (To read a copy of the letter, see proof of Gillette's "smart shelf" trials and pictures of tagged items go to

Just so you know, Gillette products are not limited to men's and women's razors, but include:
* Right Guard, Soft & Dri and Dry Idea deodorants
* Braun brand household appliances
* Duracell batteries and
* Oral-B dental products.

While Gillette's VP Dick Cantwell was supposedly "traveling extensively" and couldn't respond to C.A.S.P.I.A.N.'s urgent requests I simply called the man and lo and behold, got through to him, just a few minutes ago. (He had no idea who I was or what I was calling about when he answered his line) So, he was too busy to deal with the accountability of all this, but not too busy to take an unscreened call that slipped by the receptionist? Maybe you'll be lucky enough to catch Dick in as well. His phone number is: 617-421-7000 (or 800-GILLETTE) His email address is: [email protected]

Make double-darn sure you send a copy of your email to the consumer group behind this boycott. Last time Gillette denied they'd received so many calls and emails. However there must have been scads of 'em, because the outcry caused Gillette to stop their 'field test' of spy chips in the Brockton, Massachusetts Wal-Mart store! (Way to go privacy-lovers!) Gillette spokesman Paul Fox ([email protected]) told me "we got a FEW emails and calls from folks who just wanted information. Once we explained there was no reason to be alarmed, they THANKED us." Right out of the bilge pump of spin! We knew your outrage wasn't that easily assuaged, but that's how they've explained their sudden decision to stop doing a test that cost millions to get started.

So it's imperative you cc your emails to: [email protected] so there'll be PROOF there are more than a "few" of you upset by this! Remember, all the huge corporations will be watching how this boycott goes. A short email saying something like:"I will not buy spy-chipped products off picture-snapping shelves" in the subject line of your email is all you need to send.

They'll get the picture.

� 2003 Mary Starrett - All Rights Reserved

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Mary Starrett was on television for 21 years as a news anchor, morning talk show host and medical reporter. For the last 5 years she hosted a radio program. Mary is a frequent guest on radio talk shows. E-Mail [email protected]








"Now the gloves are off and privacy-loving consumers have another weapon in their arsenal against the assault on their privacy.

The global boycott of Gillette products officially began Monday morning."